Make Belief Studios ~

March 1, 2008

chapter 05

Filed under: 02, Gilded Providence, Story — Tags: , , , , — Saturday @ 12:35 pm

Despite receiving the ultimate opportunity to be ruler of a kingdom, the fact that the previous king set me up to take his job left me concerned with what I was getting myself into. Meeting Tremarch again calmed my worries for a bit but with the new arrival who was seeking to meet with me, a new dilemma had arisen.

What… is… that thing?!

Before me stood the body of a relatively thin man. A thin man who wore no clothes. That wasn’t the biggest issue though. Although this man wore no clothes, I wouldn’t say he was naked because, really, he had nothing to hide. The most nudity on him was his belly button sitting in the middle of his pale little protruding tummy. This still wasn’t the strangest thing about this man. As I said he had the body of a thin man, his head however, was also a complete body, the complete body of a catfish.

The catfish sat on top of his neck with his fins dangling on either side of it and his long tail hung over his man-back. Over the corners of his mouth drooped his catfish whiskers, like a mustache, and he watched me with large circular eyeballs that were spread far apart on either side of his face. His mouth and gills gapped open as he sucked in as much thin air as he could and droplets of water struck the floor in front of him.

Through clenched teeth I directed a concerned look towards Maraulen. Maraulen acknowledged my concern by compressing one of her cheeks with her mouth and shrugging her shoulders.
“He’s an Ickthyoian! From the River Kingdom!” She hissed through the back of my chair. That really didn’t tell me anything other than that this wasn’t some kind of fish monster wandered into our halls to look for scraps. Though if that was the case, I’m sure he’d stay outside where the insects were. I took another look at the odd specimen before me. He was dripping all over the floor! But wait, that wasn’t true, the water droplets were only landing in front of him and they were dripping off his face. This fish-man was crying.

“Oh! M’lady!” the fish-man exclaimed with a strange up and down tone which sounded like he was talking in bubbles. Not “through” bubbles, “in” bubbles. Each of his words strangely resembled an audible bubble and they even seemed to burst with a slight pop at the end. “I lamented for so long! Now that I’ve seen that you are indeed royalty, I have summoned the courage to address you!” The fish-man wiped his tears with his human arm and continued to stand there, gaping for air. He seemed to be addressing me personally, not simply as a queen, and that worried me. “My lady,” he continued, throwing his arms to the side then dramatically collapsing down to one knee in a bow. “My name is Rivoulin the 6th. Please tell me yours.”
“Esmeralda.” I quickly stated.
“I thought your name was Emily!” Prince scoffed from behind Maraulen’s grip.
“I don’t want him to know my name!” I hissed back at him.
“Ah, Esmeralda! Such a wonderful name that speaks of beauty and truth!” Rivoulin flattered as he bounced off his knee then rested one of his hands upon his fish brow and gazed towards the ceiling. I grimaced and tried to make like I wasn’t paying attention to him, but that was difficult since his dramatic movements and obnoxious gasping were growing increasingly worse every time he spoke. “Alas, I no longer have time for nonchalantness, I must get to the point! I have come for your hand, m’lady!” What horror! I suddenly felt like crying. “In accustom to my peoples traditions, I will give you the gift of the loyalty of my servants. You may use them as I use them!”
I don’t want to meet any more fish people!
“If you accept my love,” Rivoulin continued, flailing his arms above his head, “grant me the gift of a cup of water. For the journey from my home river was long and has dried me out to the point where I may not make it back without first intaking some kind of moisture!”
“No.” I stated loudly.
Someone who wiggles that much can’t possibly be dying.
“Get him some water!” Maraulen intervened, letting go of Prince and stepping out from behind the thrones. “The river dwellers seldom intermingle with those of the surface. We mustn’t risk being discourteous.” She glared at me and I sank back into my chair a little. One of the soldiers closest to the stage exited through the curtains and after a moment promptly returned being followed by a servant who carried upon a platter, a pitcher and a full cup of water. The soldier returned to his position in line while the servant made his way to Rivoulin, gave a bow, then handed him the cup of water. Rivoulin accepted the cup and raised it just below his fish head. He then extended his mouth forward and down, like a large straw, into the cup. His skin stretched until it was nearly transparent then he closed his eyes and commenced sucking the fluid out of the cup. Once the loud sucking sounds made it obvious that the cup was empty, Rivoulin retracted his lips and passed the cup back to the servant.
“Thank you,” he said. “I will now be able to return home safely. However, I need to receive a gift directly from the hands of my love before our feelings for each other may be seen as legitimate.”
“What feelings for each other?!” I finally rose off my chair and took a stand, speaking to the fish-man directly. “This is totally one sided! How can you even say you love me? I’m human if you haven’t noticed!”
“Though she does look like she’d make a good fishy face!” Prince teased and I shot him an angry glare. He quickly reacted to the sudden shift of attention by jumping to the top of the throne, grasping my face between his palms and squeezing my cheeks, making my lips smoosh together in a horrifyingly ridiculous expression!
“Wonderful!” Rivoulin shrieked and he fell on his side to the floor in ecstasy. My eyes flared wide as I swiveled around and booted the former king in the chin with a high kick!
“Emily Farrel!” Maraulen scolded as she ran over to Prince’s aid. I froze with my heel high in the air and an “oops” feeling overcame me. I didn’t have much time to acknowledge the feeling, however, since I was distracted by the subtle sound of something skidding across the floor. I had also noticed, that during my attack, something had fallen from one of the pockets in my blouse.

I glanced over my shoulder and looked at the strange brown and yellow shape swirling towards the feet of Rivoulin. It struck his bare toes and stopped. It was the broken branch tiara with the yellow berries which I had kept in my pocket since being at Tremarch’s house! Rivoulin, like some kind of theatrical dancer, bent down with one hand pointed towards the ground and the other towards the ceiling and delicately picked up the string of berries.
“Yellow delicious!” He exclaimed. “A delicacy adored by my people! Oh thank you, my queen! I have found you to be royalty equal to my stature and you have returned to me a gift of love! We have officially met all the requirements of my people! I will now return and discuss the arrangements of our wedding! Farewell my love!”
“Wait a minute!” I exclaimed. “You’re that face I saw in the river by Tremarch’s place, aren’t you! You’ve been stalking me since then?!” I hollered after Rivoulin as he waited for the room’s doors to be opened for him.
“Farewell, my love! And remember, as long as there is water nearby, you may summon my servants for whatever you may need!” Rivoulin waved without looking back and the doors closed behind him.

I collapsed to the throne and sighed.
“At the very least, I want to marry somebody who listens to me.”
“There, there, dear,” Maraulen consoled once again from behind the thrones. Prince sneered at me. I suppose my ill-scenario was good medicine for his bruised chin. The sound of a book page turning came from Dragged who still stood behind the curtain, ignoring the whole situation. I sighed again. “Send in the next person, please!” Maraulen called once more. The heavy doors dragged open and I thought about how I didn’t want to be queen anymore.

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